Sam was a black and white patched cat, supposedly owned by an unknown crewman of the German battleship Bismarck.
The Bismark, which, with her sister ship Tirpitz, was the largest battleship ever built by Germany for the second World War. In fact, it only ever took part in one action before it was sunk in 1941 by British war ships and Sam was discovered many hours later floating on a piece of wood, by the crew of the HMS Cossack. They took him aboard and named him, Oscar! They called him “Oscar” from the International Code of Signals for the letter ‘O’, which is code for “Man Overboard”.
However, there was a war on and unfortunately, a little later, yes you guessed it, the Cossack was hit by a torpedo. 159 of the crew were killed. Again, Oscar survived! Again, he was rescued along with the surviving crew. This time he got the name “Unsinkable Sam.”
But his escapades didn’t end there, as he was then passed on to become the ship’s cat on the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Yes, life on naval ships in world war two was risky and eventually a Nazi U-boat’s torpedo did it for the HMS Ark Royal.
Oscar successfully survived again!
This time it was decided that maybe now they should retire him from the navy, so he retired to a seaman’s home in Belfast where he happily lived on dry land for a further 14 years dying peacefully in 1955.
Unsinkable Sam served on both sided during World War II as well as surviving the sinking of three ships!